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The Dangers of Vinyl Chloride

Apr 7, 2008
Vinyl Chloride is perhaps something that is not widely considered; however, is more widespread than most people know as it is used in so many manufacturing processes. There are many regulatory measures in place regarding its use.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) assigns a Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry number too many different chemical compounds for identification purposes. The CAS for Vinyl Chloride is 75-01-4. The ACS keeps documentation on research and events which involve Vinyl Chloride and are an excellent resource for these materials. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is another body regulating vinyl chloride. The EPA has calculated an inhalation unit risk estimate of 8.8 10-6 (g/m3)-1 for lifetime exposure to vinyl chloride.

Vinyl Chloride itself is a flammable, colorless, sweet smelling gas. However, OSHA has classified vinyl chloride as a hazardous chemical with a permissible exposure limit of 1 ppm (part per million), at which level it is impossible for the human nose to register a smell. Thus, if a person were able to smell vinyl chloride this would be indicative of an egregious overexposure.

Vinyl Chloride is also known by the names chloroethene, chloroethylene, chlorethylene, ethylene monochloride, monochloroethene, monochloroethylene, VC, and vinyl chloride monomer. It is supplied commercially as a liquid under pressure. Vinyl Chloride is used primarily in EDC (ethylene dichloride) plants, in methyl chloroform plants, and, most frequently, in PVC (polyvinyl chloride) processing and fabricating plants. Vinyl chloride monomer is the compound from which PVC is derived. PVC is used to make a plethora of different consumer products including, but not limited to:

* Vinyl siding.

* Plastic cards (credit, ID, etc.).

* Window profiles.

* Pipe/plumbing/conduit fixtures.

* Insulation.

* Clothing and upholstery.

* Flooring.

* Roofing membranes.

* Electrical cables.

* Containers.

* Battery cell separators.

* Phonograph records.

* Irrigation systems.

* Latex paints.

Clearly, individuals working in or around any location or manufacturing plant utilizing vinyl chloride should be aware of the risks inherent in exposure to this chemical. Indeed, those working in PVC plants receive a higher dosage of vinyl chloride than those employed to create it.
In the past vinyl chloride was also used as a component of aerosol products, and also for medical applications.

Now though, it is illegal to employ vinyl chloride as an aerosol propellant according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the EPA, and the FDA. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act both mention a reduction of vinyl chloride emissions and usages as necessary to avoid adverse health effects. In both pieces of legislation maximum exposure and contamination amounts are defined. The EPA is the government body that has the authority to regulate vinyl chloride as established under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976. The FDA has disallowed using this substance in pharmaceuticals, and in any materials used to contain consumables. Not only have the uses on vinyl chloride been restricted, but according to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 one or more pounds dispersed into the local environs (air, water or soil) must be stated and registered with the Toxics Release Inventory established by the EPA.
About the Author
Visit http://www.LegalView.com for more information on this and other topics ranging from the Singulair risks, which is found at http://singulair.legalview.com, to traumatic brain injury treatments to Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis jury verdicts .
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